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Editorial: Power to the nursing home people

Posted: March 15, 2014 - 10:31am

We spent a good deal of time putting together our story about how a very small group of nursing home magnates are becoming the deciding voices for the outcome of judicial elections.

In the story, you’ll find the plain facts: Who got what from which nursing home conglomerate and how much. It takes just a little bit of editorializing, though, to provide the proper context to interpret these facts.

And so here is the gist of it, and we hope this sets some people straight on the new political facts of life as far as Arkansas campaign finance goes:

New political fact of life No. 1: You’d be a fool not to take money from big nursing home interests. It’s gotten to the point that the stacks of money they’re bringing to the table are so big that if you don’t, you’re probably hobbling you chances of winning when the big stacks get shifted over to whoever’s filed against you

New political fact of life No. 2: You’re going to end up looking like a fool if you do take their money. Side with them, and you’re a bought-out scoundrel who sacrificed their values for easy money; side against them and they’ll bankroll your next political rival.

There are several intricacies involving the wisdom of tort reform and the current state of campaign finance laws as they relate to corporations, but the dilemma described above pretty much sums up the issue.

What the big nursing home interests have done to a lot of political candidates is put them in a position where they’ve got to take their money, and they’ve got to like it.

It’s not like any of them can say, “I needed the money but I’m ashamed for taking it.” No, because if they say anything too far removed from “the several thousand dollars I got from [insert nursing home tycoon here] is right and good and a joyous thing forever” they’re just stealing from themselves.

We know the several local candidates for seats at both the judicial and legislative tables who’ve taken contributions, and we also know there are several more, both Republicans and Democrats, who will be talking with the big nursing home owners in the next few weeks hoping for contributions.

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reader
18512
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reader 03/19/14 - 10:21 pm
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Election Funding Reform

and overturning the 'Citizens United' decision by the Roberts Court. by constitutional amendment if necessary is the only safety net in this Catch 22 democratic republic.

Igor Rabinowitz
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Igor Rabinowitz 03/20/14 - 08:59 am
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deciding "voices"

That's just it, it's not a "voice," as much as an instrument.

The Roberts court, upending generations of opinion by declaring money a free speech right, has turned the political process in America over to corruption and those willing to corrupt, and be corrupted.

The newspaper taking a "this is the new reality" stance infers it is in favor of corruption -- which I find troubling. A more responsible position would be to remove money's influence, which in turn removes the "voice" of those without liquid assets to control not only the debate, but who gets to debate.

reader
18512
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reader 03/20/14 - 06:01 pm
1
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Almost the reimplementation of the

White, landowners with the only power of the vote.

libertas
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libertas 03/21/14 - 07:07 am
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Follow the Money

When judges are elected you get what you pay for, even worse, they usually first get on the bench by appointment from a governor handing out political patronage. If any good is to come from Judge Maggio's disclosures let's hope the investigations into his decisions don't stop with the nursing home case or his courtroom.

lachowsj
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lachowsj 03/21/14 - 09:01 am
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Not hopeful

After the Citizens United ruling, Senator McCain, co-author of the famous McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act of 2002, declared that campaign finance reform was dead. He added hopefully that he thought there would be a voter backlash as soon as it was apparent how much this would put elections in the hands of the corporations and unions.

I have not seen that backlash. So far, I have only seen the monied few and the special interests exert more and more control. Maybe reform will come. I am not hopeful.

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